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King Rikki (2002)
Classic Villainy in the Barrio
With LA gang territory as situational backdrop and the convention of soliloquy/narrative storytelling as method, Street King renders a stunning updated headshot of classic villainy. This is chiefly a character study, not a lesson is gang sociology. The narrative device, so effective here, is, of course, a tradition evidenced most recently on film with Kenneth Branagh's Iago -- the Shakespearean baddy bent on punishing Larry Fishburn's _Othello_ while letting the audience in on each turn of his twisted plot and mind -- and with Al Pacino's incarnation of Rikki's mentor, Richard III, in _Looking for Richard_. These characters are desperate, vengeful, self-isolated men, convinced that the world has stolen their birthrights in one form or other, with `the third wall' -- that's us -- their only true companions. They're bent on revenge, and they relish sharing their process.
Now in _Street King_ ( alias _King Rikki_) there too goes Rikki Ortega, with an ironic humor that paints his brand of black all the darker a shade of never-gettin'-over-it. Jon Seda gets the idea; so does the script. The audience gets a stylish swine in modern dress.
Too bad the film's release wasn't well publicized. As Hillary Clinton might say, it takes a budget. Seda's performance is laser perfect, and there are some other solid performances as well. (Liz Torres as Rikki's mother is particularly fine.) For the drama of pure devilry, this video is worth checking out.